G35

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2008 INFINITI G35 Test Drive Review

Picture of 2008 INFINITI G35 A year after the successful redesign of this delightful sports sedan, the 2008 Infiniti G35 returns without changes, ready to take on the best Germany has to offer.

9 /10
Overall Score

Infiniti struck gold with the original 2003 G35 sedan and the G35 coupe that followed. Clean and almost timeless design, a balanced “front-midship” (FM) platform with rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), and a powerful V6 engine with a snarling exhaust note demonstrated that Japan could emulate what makes a BMW 3 Series so special.

Those qualities continue in the second-generation G35 sedan, now entering its second year of production. It comes in standard, Journey, and Sport trim, with a G35x model that adds AWD and extra cold-weather equipment to the Journey version of the car.

Look and Feel

10/ 10

Evolutionary instead of revolutionary, the G35’s styling doesn’t try to fix what wasn’t previously broken. In fact, it adds cohesion and character in ways the first-generation car did not. As was true before, the cabin sits far back on the chassis to facilitate the FM platform design, which places the V6 engine in a front-midship location for better balance.

Infiniti carries the clean, uncluttered, but carefully detailed aesthetic that characterizes the outside of the G35 into the cabin, where a simple and minimalistic ethos helps a driver to focus on the task at hand.

Leather is standard, with textured aluminum or glossy wood trim, and the Infiniti analog clock remains the centerpiece of the dashboard control panel. Electroluminescent gauges supply clarity at a glance, which is important in a car that can travel as fast as this one does.

Performance

9/ 10

Equipped with a standard 3.5-liter V6 engine making 306 horsepower, the Infiniti G35 is undeniably speedy, getting to 60 mph in about 5.5 seconds.

Two transmissions are available, a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 5-speed automatic, but Infiniti restricts the stick to Sport trim. No matter, because the automatic is impressive in its own right, including downshift rev-matching technology and available magnesium paddle shifters.

Both transmissions deliver the power to the G35’s rear wheels, unless the car in question is the G35x. It exists to make this Infiniti more appealing to people who live in cold-weather climates. Active 4-wheel steering is available with Journey and Sport trim, giving the G35 an extra bit of athleticism.

When you get into the driver’s seat, one of the first things you’ll notice is how close you’re positioned to the steering wheel, dashboard, and windshield. When you’re driving hard on a favorite back road, this lends a sense of immediacy and intimacy to the proceedings, giving you a thrill quite unlike other luxury sport sedans. Add the thrust of the V6, the staccato of the exhaust, and the G35’s excellent natural balance, and you feel immersed in the act of driving, a clearly active participant rather than a spectator.

An analogy would be the difference between sitting in the stands at a sporting event and being down on the sidelines or the field itself. Either way, you’re at the game. But down on the field the experience is heightened and magnified in every way.

Form and Function

7/ 10

If driving an Infiniti G35 is a visceral experience, it is also a luxurious one. Quality materials, comfortable seats, and the latest in technology ensure it.

Standard equipment includes leather seats, automatic climate control, and a keyless push-button engine starting system. Journey trim adds dual-zone automatic climate control and a power-adjustable front passenger’s seat, while the G35x equips the car with AWD, heated front seats, and heated side mirrors. Sport trim builds on the Journey with sport-bolstered front seats, a sport-tuned suspension, a limited-slip rear differential, larger brakes, and handsome 18-inch wheels. Several stair-step option packages add luxury, comfort, and convenience items to the car.

Though the driving position is intimate, you won’t feel confined. Comfort is easy to come by in the G35. The rear seat is accommodating, too, though taller adults may have trouble finding a comfortable position.

Storage space is an issue in this car. Aside from a bin under the center armrest, there isn’t much of it. And the trunk isn’t terribly big, measuring just 13.5 cubic feet.

Tech Level

10/ 10

Thanks to its recent redesign, the G35 comes with plenty of modern technologies and conveniences.

Standard equipment includes a 6-speaker stereo with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, and an auxiliary audio input jack. Journey and Sport trim add a CD changer. Bluetooth cell phone pairing technology is an option, allowing you to conduct hands-free phone calls and conversations. A Bose premium sound system is also available, along with an iPod interface and a hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic data digital music file storage.

Safety

8/ 10

Safety also comes standard on every Infiniti G35. This car includes antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, and a full complement of airbags including dual front, front side, and side curtain restraints. Infiniti says it even installs special head restraints that are designed to limit whiplash in a collision. Options include a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, and seat belts that tighten before an impact.

In crash-testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the G35 earns 5-star ratings in all assessments (including for rollover resistance) except for frontal impact for the front passenger. In that test, the car gets a 4-star rating.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) finds similarly impressive results, giving the G35 a Good rating in the moderate-overlap frontal-impact and side-impact tests, and an Acceptable rating for roof strength. However, those fancy whiplash-reducing seat head restraints score no better than Marginal, according to the IIHS.

Cost-Effectiveness

10/ 10

People seeking a stylish, high-quality, high-performing luxury sport sedan would do well to consider the 2008 Infiniti G35 sedan. And based on its pricing, which undercuts competitors from BMW and Mercedes, the car is a genuine bargain.

Updated

Christian Wardlaw has 25 years of experience reviewing cars and has served in editorial leadership roles with Edmunds, J.D. Power, the New York Daily News, Autobytel, and Vehix. Chris prefers to focus on the cars people actually buy rather than the cars about which people dream, and emphasizes the importance of fuel economy and safety as much as how much fun a car is to drive. Chris is married to an automotive journalist, is the father of four daughters, and lives in Southern California.

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G35

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INFINITI G35 Questions

Alternator On 2008 Infiniti G35

Can the alternator go out, but the car still starts, but loses ability to move? I thought it was the transmission, but mechanic said alternator.

Switch Out A/C Control Panel With Different Model

Can I replace the a/c control panel on my 2008 G35 journey without navigation with a panel that has the stock memory card reader. Are all the plugs there so that everything will work properly inclu...

Has Anyone Had A Total Brake Failure On The 2008 G35?

We own a 2008 Infinity G35 sedan and the brakes have failed three times. First was when my mother was driving in a garage, she was trying to turn right, at very slow speed (10 mph?), the brakes didn...

AC Only Blows Hot Air

Hi, The AC in my 2008 G35x only blows hot air. Last year it would blow cold air when it was really warm out but this year it's only blowing hot air.

More Than 200,000 Mi Infiniti Car Still Doing Good??